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Archived Information

Mathematics Curriculum Framework
Achieving Mathematical Power - January 1996

Habits of Mind

Developing mathematical power includes the gradual acquisition of ways of thinking and behaving called mathematical habits of mind. These habits might be thought of as desirable attitudes toward learning and using mathematics that should become an integral part of each student's approach to mathematics. They derive from the curriculum and are reinforced when teachers model these habits for students.

The Mathematics Habits of Mind are listed here in the form of questions to be considered and modeled by teachers and shared with students. They help frame the vision of achieving mathematical power through problem solving, communication, and connections, which is the foundation of the Massachusetts Mathematics Framework.

  • How do I use my mathematical skills to interpret information and solve problems? Mathematics can provide a venue for us to work beyond our center of competence, encouraging us to push the limits of our mathematical knowledge and abilities.
  • Do I communicate to others how I solved a problem or justified my solution? Seeking feedback helps us to deepen our mathematical understanding by reflecting upon, extending and refining our thinking.
  • In what ways do I reflect confidence in my ability to do mathematics? Confidence in mathematical ability brings with it an attitude of persistence when solutions are not apparent.
  • In what ways do I explore the relationship of mathematics to other areas that interest me? To other subject areas? When we explore mathematics in the course of our daily lives, we encourage the use of available resources as well as integrate mathematics within our existing network of ideas.
  • How do I show that I value and appreciate the beauty and fascination of mathematics? Valuing all dimensions of mathematics encourages us to view mathematics in unconventional ways, generating new ways of thinking.

Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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